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Activating vertical trends on both search and native

1 + 1 = 3. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you want to go fast — go alone, if you want to go far — go together. Search + Native = Better Together.

While one of these colloquial phrases may not have the same level of use as the others, they are all nevertheless true. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began to influence every aspect of our lives, Microsoft Advertising has been working hard to identify patterns in consumer behavior and ensure that advertisers are responding in the best way possible in order to solve their customers’ questions and needs.

While search remains a fundamental necessity for any digital marketer, Microsoft Advertising also offers a powerful native platform, the Microsoft Audience Network. Internal research shows that users exposed to a brand’s ad on the Audience Network see a +38% lift in impressions per user, and a +48% lift in clicks per user compared to similar, unexposed users. Additionally, consumer trends derived from search can and should be activated in this native space as well. We’ve recently evaluated search trends across key verticals, and highlighted native activation opportunities based on those search trends:

Retail & CPG

Financial Services

Health & Wellness

Technology & Telecommunications

Travel & Transportation

Most of these insights feature results from analyses aimed at measuring the impact of native ad exposure on search performance. We have seen search click lift impacts across key verticals, specifically +77% in Retail, +67% in Travel, +57% in Tech & Telco, +25% in Financial Services, and +19% in Autos. These metrics indicate an added benefit to an advertiser’s search campaigns from the simple exposure to their ad on native. Hear more winning tactics for combining search and native on the recent webcast — The Art and Science of Search + Native

In addition to contributing to increased search clicks, ad exposure on the Microsoft Audience Network leads to increased conversion volume, as measured by view-through conversions. View-through conversions are counted when a user has been exposed to a Microsoft Audience Network ad and converted on the advertiser at a later time without another Microsoft Advertising touchpoint in between. In May 2020, view-through conversions accounted for 42% of all conversions attributed to the Microsoft Audience Network. Only measuring last-click conversions from native may lead to mis-attributing a significant number of converters. 

In summary, there are three important things to remember in order to ensure that 1 + 1 can really equal 3:
  • Your response to COVID trends should be activated across both search and native, using the strategies shared above.
  • Your activation on the Microsoft Audience Network can have a measurable impact on a user’s likelihood to search for and click on your brand’s paid search ads.
  • For a more holistic and user-centric approach, measure your activation on the Microsoft Audience Network using not only last-click conversions, but also impact to search as well as view-through conversions.
For these and many other regularly updated insights, please bookmark our COVID-19 insights and resources for advertisers hub and subscribe to the Microsoft Advertising Insider newsletter to receive blog updates automatically. If you’d prefer to listen instead, follow our Insights with Microsoft podcast series on Apple, Google and Spotify. Curious about strategies and recommendations? Read our digital advertiser’s guide to COVID-19. For insights on Marketing with Purpose, which explores building loyalty and creating business value through an expanded view on trust paved with empathy, inclusivity and knowing your brand’s purpose, bookmark our curated hub.